Fox News Host Shepard Smith Debunks His Own Network’s Favorite Clinton Conspiracy Theory
While the rest of the news media has been covering the allegations against Roy Moore, the Russia investigation, and the ongoing story about women coming forward to talk about how they’ve been sexually harassed and abused by men in a position of power, Fox News Channel has been obsessing over the so-called Uranium One scandal. As Steven Taylor explained in his post on the matter several weeks, ago, the story behind Uranium One involves the sale of a portion of an interest of a predominantly Canadian-owned company to a Russian company. As the name implies, the corporation in question is involved in the mining and sale of uranium to utilities, other businesses, and government in the United States around the world. Several years ago, that company entered into an agreement whereby a Russian company would acquire a minority interest in Uranium One, including its interest in mining projects in the United States. The conspiracy theory comes into play because one of the owners of the company made a fairly large contribution to the Clinton Foundation. Following this, a U.S. government inter-departmental committee that includes the State Department approved the sale. Since this occurred at the time when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the claim has been made that there was some sort of quid pro quo for the approval linked to the Clinton Foundation approval. The theory also includes the false claim that the sale involved actually selling uranium mined in the United States, which is untrue and in any case impossible since American law generally forbids uranium mined in the United States from being exported to any country, much less to Russia. Additionally, the final government approval of the sale includes the stipulation that all of the uranium that Uranium One mines in the United States will be sold to American utilities, other American companies that make use of uranium in their products such as the makers of high-technology medical devices, and the U.S. Government. While all of this has been debunked, in particular by Snopes, Politico, and The Washington Post, Fox News hosts such as Sean Hannity continue to push the idea that Hillary Clinton allowed Russians to get American uranium and, most recently, President Trump has used his Twitter account to push the theory and to demand that the Justice Department investigate the matter.
Yesterday, though, Fox News host Shepard Smith, who has often bucked the conservative headwinds at his own network, used his afternoon show on Fox News Channel to completely debunk the alleged conspiracy that Fox News has been at the forefront of pushing:
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith debunked what his own network has called the Hillary Clinton uranium “scandal,” infuriating Fox viewers, some of whom suggested that he ought to work for CNN or MSNBC.
Smith’s critique, which called President Trump’s accusations against Clinton “inaccurate,” was triggered by renewed calls from Republicans on Capitol Hill for a special counsel to investigate Clinton.
Fox News, along with Trump and his allies, have been suggesting for months a link between donations to the Clinton Foundation and the approval of a deal by the State Department and the Obama administration allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with operations in the United States.
Trump called it “Watergate, modern-age.” Former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, speaking on Fox News last month, said it was “equivalent to” the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg spying case of the 1950s, in which the couple was charged with providing U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, noting that “those people got the chair.”
Various fact-checkers, including The Washington Post’s, have already dismantled the underpinnings of these accusations. No one expected a similar debunking from Fox.
Here’s the video of Smith’s report:
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg hails Smith for setting the record straight:
My real objection is to the way people on late-night shout shows and talk radio blithely and irresponsibly throw around claims that our national security was gravely damaged, or insinuate that treason has been committed. It’s neither of those things. Sebastian Gorka’s repeated invocation of the Rosenbergs is dangerous, demagogic, and dippy.
As Shep notes, the uranium the Russians bought can only be sold . . . in America to American facilities. We weren’t giving ammunition to an enemy (an enemy usually only for the purposes of the Uranium One story, by the way) to kill us with nuclear weapons. Russia already has vastly more Uranium than we do. The U.S. has 1 percent of the global reserves of uranium. Russia has 9 percent. So when you hear radio talkers screaming about how Hillary Clinton gave the Russians TWENTY PERCENT!!!!!! of America’s precious uranium supply, they’re talking about one-fifth of one percent of a fairly common metal (Australia has 29 percent of the known uranium reserves).
In fact, one way you can tell if a commodity is rare is by looking at its price. Gold today is at a bit under $1,300 per ounce. Rhodium, mostly used in things like catalytic converters is around $1,400 per ounce. Platinum (which I always thought until this morning was more expensive than gold) is around $1,000 bucks per ounce.
Uranium? It sells for less than $25 bucks - per pound.
I get that uranium sounds scary. I’ve heard a lot of pundits say something like, “I mean the word uranium was right there! Hello! The Clintons should have known!”
Well, the pundits should know what they’re talking about, too.
Anyone who actually examined the circumstances of the sale and the relevant regulations regarding sales such as this would have known long ago that there was nothing to these allegations. That hasn’t stopped Sean Hannity and others as FNC from pushing this theory, and it hasn’t stopped the President and many Republicans on Capitol Hill from demanding that the Justice Department appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter. Indeed, I suspect that even Hannity and the others realize that there’s nothing of substance to this entire story, but they keep pushing it because it is an obvious effort to distract attention away from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the ties between people close to or involved in the Trump campaign and Russian officials or people with ties to those officials. It also helps to reinforce the Clinton Derangement Syndrome that has been a central part of the right-wing zeitgeist since the 1990s. Much like the lies that the President tells on a regular basis, the fact that all of the claims that they make are untrue doesn’t matter to them at all. It reinforces what they already believe. That’s all that matters.